Best Chef: Patrick 'Opie' Crooks at Woodberry Kitchen

2010 Clipper Park Road, (410) 464-8000,

What are the more valuable attributes of a chef: wild creativity or good, sound judgment and the ability to lead a kitchen into battle? That leadership thing is a real turn-on, we have to admit. We asked a chef for help on this one, and the chef said, “Opie.” And when we asked another restaurant pro what she thought about Patrick Crooks, who is universally known as “Opie,” she said, “Oh, God yes, Opie.” Crooks’ work as chef-de-cuisine at Woodberry Kitchen is subtle, almost craftsmanlike, but he has elevated the restaurant’s rustic and plain-spoken cuisine into something more elegant and thoughtful. His name isn’t on the Woodberry menu but when chefs at other restaurants want to collaborate, or share ideas, the first name they think of is “Opie.”

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